Dough has a mind of its own so do not give up should you get a brick at the first attempt.
Once, for a whole month, our bread would hardly rise and we still do not know why. It is not a reason to quit if your results are disappointing at first.
Baking your own bread is really only for those who have a mind for being precise; amongst which I do not number. However, I have been doing it daily for so long that within reason, I can tip the ingredients in, say a prayer and hope for the best; and then nine times out of ten get it right.
Does the very best bread in the whole world for about R5 per loaf appeal to you? I am not exaggerating.
Then it is time to consider purchasing a bread-machine; you can often pick them up second-hand for a song.
Ours is a Panasonic; it is 25-years old and still nearly perfect. Only the tray has failed. And, since adding sunflower and poppy seeds makes for a heavy loaf, we had given up using it anyway. We have them on our cereal or porridge instead.
You can do it the old-fashioned way by kneading, and then allowing it to rise. Punch the dough down, and wait for more gas to increase the size of the loaf; and thereafter bake, but it is quite arduous and takes a lot of time.
Some would say that is the right way.
And you have to heat the whole oven, and then the cost of electricity becomes a factor. The power to fire up a bread-machine costs about 50c, unless you are a greenie; then it is free.
The bread-machine is rated as the most underused appliance in the kitchen, so think carefully before starting; there is no point in signing up for the Comrades marathon, but running out of steam before you pass the Shellhole.
Bread dough has a mind of its own though and if you give up the first time you produce a loaf that has the feel of a brick, then it has all been an expensive exercise in futility.
In the photo above two loaves made on consecutive days are shown; one was a brick.
Supermarket bread has come into disfavour in recent times and for good reason. Firstly it tastes like cardboard, so you have to smear it with jellies, jams and polony. In the main, because even the whole-wheat is so refined, it has a high GI and is fattening.
Firstly, may I make a comment about flour? There is a colossal lie in grinding wheat. Internationally, millers may remove up to 40 percent of the goodies and still call it wholemeal. But in fact much of the bran where the fibre, pyridoxine and vitally important lignans are found has been extracted. So too, the germ where the protein, healthy oils, vitamins and minerals are located has been removed. It is sold to the pig-farmer and we are left with the empty calories that remain.
Whilst some of these refined flours are reasonable, to my mind, if you are going to do this properly, reckon on buying a wheat-grinder within a year; the oils go rancid in less than a week once milled and exposed to the air.
Unless you have an uncle in the milling business, grind the flour yourself just before baking. Wheat from the farmer costs R4/kg; and then you do not need to be taking a host of vitamin and mineral supplements.
The lignans alone make it worthwhile; then women can be a lot less fearful of malignant breast disease.
They, and the vitamin E and calcium make the exercise worth the effort. A life without medication is not a pipe-dream for most greenies.
Our old stone-mill has paid itself off many times over. They cost about R5,000 but I accept that only a few folk will decide to grind their own flour. It is only for those who are really serious about their well-being.
Gluten intolerance is another reason why many folk have permanently given up bread; however, it is so easy to make sourdough which digests the wheat properly, breaking down the offending protein chains. Proline can create havoc in the intestines of some people.
It tastes so good that you do not need those sweet jams, and even those suffering from coeliac disease can often eat bread made in this way.
You are very busy and it takes far too long perhaps.
Is six minutes to grind the flour, toss in the ingredients, and then add the yeast to make the best bread in the world really too much time to attempt such a massive step up to greater well-being? What is more, it has a taste to die for. Of course, you have to wait another five hours for it to rise and bake.
Dough has a mind of its own as subtle changes in temperature and humidity, and when you add the salt and sourdough, can have profound effects.
Sourdough bread with Jamie Oliver makes interesting reading.
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